There was some tool of a right-wing apologist on the radio on my way to work tonight complaining about Obama’s stimulus package. I have no problem with conservatives themselves, mind you – just apologists in general, whether they are liberal, conservative, religious, scientific or any other flavor. This moron asked, “When has government spending EVER improved the economy?” Now, regardless how you feel about the details of this specific package, you would have to be a liar, or completely ignorant to state that history does not show that government spending improves the economy. Being that this guy was a right-wing apologist, my assumption is that he is a liar. Why? Because it has been a tag-line for conservatives pretty much forever, in justification of war, that war is good for the economy. Apparently this guy has never heard of perhaps the most successful government-funded economic stimulation in recent history – World War II. That’s what gets me about these conservative apologists… They have no problem spending government money at all, but rather than having improved infrastructure as a result, they’d rather spend it on wars. I do not consider myself a pacifist, but I do believe that the only just war is a defensive war. That’s really beside the point, however. This got me thinking … World War II thrust us into decades of economic prosperity. It seems that war in general, has always been good for the economy – especially since war has been mechanized and industrialized. That is, right up until about Viet Nam. Why is that? I thought about the differences between WWII and the latest Iraq disaster. WWII boosted the economy and Iraq dragged it down. Why? The concept of government spending to boost the economy is fairly simple, especially the war model. You create government contracts, companies get those contracts – which helps them, and they must hire people. The more middle class people you have spending money, the better still the businesses do. While the government went into debt to finance the war, it is the people and businesses who reap the benefits and get that money. The government is US. Tax money is OUR money. Complaining that the government is spending money on US is ludicrous – what else should they spend our money on? Furthermore, the better people do, the less the government has to spend on social programs AND they recoup their losses through sales tax on all that crap people can afford to buy now, and the more they buy, the better businesses do and the more they hire. It’s an upward spiral. So why did Iraq break the bank and NOT stimulate the economy? The people didn’t get nearly as many jobs and the businesses that had the politicians in their pockets did it cheaper by out-sourcing, importing and manufacturing overseas. The executives of the companies got rich, but little of the billions in tax dollars spent to fund the “war” got back into the pockets of the people who own the purse – Americans. Now I keep hearing right-wing apologists argue that the “buy American” clause in the new stimulus package is a bad thing because we would do better off getting the materials cheaper from foreign companies. That is simply moronic. Government spending will always boost the economy when that money is spent to help Americans. It is OUR money. To take that money and get cheaper products overseas and to outsource labor defeats the whole purpose of government spending. If you import and out-source, rather than buy local, you send your money overseas rather than use it to bolster the economy by benefitting Americans. It’s not about getting a new bridge for cheaper, it’s about getting more people to work and getting more money in the pockets of the working class. It’s not that difficult a concept, really. If your town has to build a bridge, either they can take YOUR tax dollars and hire people and companies from your town to build it – thus helping members of the town and bolstering the local economy – or they can hire an outside company and siphon that money OUT of the town. What’s funny is that I remember when I was a kid, so many on the right lambasted people on the left for not buying American products. You would NEVER see a Republican driving a foreign car. Democrats were accused of not being patriotic because they spent their money on foreign goods to save money. I agree with them. The more you spend in your community, the better your community does – and that concept carries out in concentric circles. Now it seems there has been a complete turn-around and the left is being lambasted for all the “Go Local” campaigns. I heard someone say the other day that community service is a Socialist ideal. Community service is the very core of patriotism in my book, and used to be in the Republican book as well. This is part of why, while I consider myself more of a Republican in political views, I have distanced myself from the party and do not think there has been a Republican President since Ike. I am disgusted with what has happened to the party since the “New Conservative” movement started. Patriotism used to be about caring for others in your community and country. Wanting them to be prosperous, because that benefits us all. Serving your community and supporting it. Now it seems so-called patriotism is a blunt weapon with no real meaning, used to bludgeon liberals. It’s foul.